Third of UK firms see automation as a top priority

One in three businesses in the UK are planning to invest in automation due to ongoing employee shortages, according to new research.

A survey of 670 UK firms by banking group HSBC found that 40% have a negative outlook regarding staffing levels and availability, and 33% are planning to focus capital expenditure on automation.

Businesses facing recruitment problems were most likely to have automation high up on the agenda.

The findings add to concerns over the rise of automation and its impact on the need for workers.

Almost a third of jobs in the UK could become redundant by 2030 due to automation and changing workforces, according to a study last week from Arden University.

The findings suggest that more than half (56%) of jobs in the transport and storage industry are set to disappear, followed by 45% of manufacturing roles, 44% across wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles, 37% in administration and support services, and 32% in public administration, defence, social security, financial services and insurance.

Carl Lygo, chief executive and vice chancellor at Arden University, said: “The transportation and storage, manufacturing and wholesale and retail sectors account for 28% of the UK workforce — meaning 4.2 million jobs are now at risk of becoming outdated and eradicated in the hands of automation.”